24

24 Finale Review: Shut It Down...

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The following review takes place between 6:40 a.m. and 7:01 a.m. Words are written in real time...

In the end, 24 saved its best for last. Not the last episode of this inconsistent season; but the last two hours in the history of this iconic, influential series.

After weeks of complaining about the revenge-fueled monster Jack Bauer had become, I was thrilled to see the show stop and acknowledge just how far over the edge he had gone. When Jason Pillar stitched our hero up and ran down the murderous measures the latter had taken recently, Jack defended his actions as necessary because justice had to be served.

But he quickly realized he might not have been serving it in the proper way. Hence, his decision to let Pillar live.

It took Chloe, of course, the one person who has always had Jack's back (as he later acknowledged) to truly talk sense into sense into Bauer. His suicidal mission to execute the Russian President may have seemed extreme to new 24 viewers, but those of us that have been along for the entire ride are aware of just how pained and damaged a man Jack is.

Jack Goes to Work

This wasn't the first time he considered ending his own life. With the exception of Kim and Chloe, he's lost everyone he's ever been close to, often as collateral damage to his own actions.

Creatively, I've maintained that the best way for 24 to conclude would be for Jack to die a heroic death. This was never a possibility because we all know a 24 movie is on the way, which did remove a modicum of suspense from the last few minutes.

That option off the table, the drama gave Jack the best send-off it could. Here's why:
  • He was alone in his final moments. There was no one around. This fit the profile of a man whose actions and decisions have resulted in a lonely existence.
  • We watched his final scene via CTU technology. Even this small detail was appropriate, as 24 was the first show to rely on gizmos and gadgets to get important jobs done.
  • Jack's conversation with the President made it clear that his job something had changed. Not just because she told him the authorities would be on the way; but because he never addressed her as "Madame President." He never thanked her for the call. This is a man that has been respectful of the most powerful office in the world for years... but the actions by his own government this season finally broke his faith in many ways. Leaving the country is likely the best thing for his wounded psyche, as well as his freedom.
  • It ended with Chloe saying "shut it down." The series could have chosen to reunite Jack with Kim, but it acknowledged what we all have known for years: a show heavy in action and suspense has remained grounded in the unusual relationship that developed between Jack and this CTU programmer. Expect Mary Lynn Rajskub to receive an Emmy nomination, as the concluding moments of 24 were as much an opportunity for her to shine as they were for Kiefer Sutherland.

Let's also stop and give props to Cherry Jones. Someone finally remembered the show is dealing with a Tony Award winner here and gave Jones plenty of solid material in her scenes with Dalia Hassan. She was outstanding.

And, with that, the clock has run out on this review. While 24 has lost a bit of momentum and creativity over the last couple seasons, it will go down in history as one of the most unique, well-produced shows to ever air. Jack Bauer isn't going too far. We'll see him on the big screen soon.

But events won't unfold in real time there, a sobering thought for those of us that have set our Monday nights according to a certain ticking clock for eight seasons now.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE EPISODE?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (530 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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I just watch the last season of 24 that I had forgotten on my TiVo. I have to say, Im ashamed of betraying 24 for Lost. 24 made its mistakes, like what they did to Tony. But it end how it was supposed to end.
Thanks 24!! Almost a whole decade of thrills!!!

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This last season was alot like the previous few, lacking anything new or creative. The format and sequencing is basically formulaic and the finale felt like any other regular "season" finale I've seen from 24. This show should've wrapped up years ago before it lost its luster.

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To Lili and Fios- Much appreciated your comments and reply comparing LOST and 24. TY. I do agree that 24 offered intelligent views a more "conclusive" and "satisfying" finale than did LOST. Its not that I don't appreciate the sentiment and message LOST was trying to communicate, but I do agree with the masses that have overwhelmingly sounded off that the writers/producers of LOST left many fans greatly disappointed and disrespected by the final season and the finale. Whereas,IMO the 24 finale was more faithful to what the show was about. Again, I wonder what effect [subconciously AND conciously] the REALITY that we KNOW this is NOT the end for 24, but are practically guaranteed a MOVIE with Jack, has on our thoughts in all this???? BTW- the Jack/Chloe final scene was as good as any finale in all of TV. VERY sastisfying. Another interesting comparison between LOST and 24- Both end at nearly the exact same TIME and both shared a unique device in the history of TV series in the way each dealt with TIME. Thing about it!!!

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Now this is how you end a series. I have been an avid follower of both 24 and Lost. It became clear to me a couple seasons ago that the creators of Lost where, to put it bluntly, just as "Lost" as the viewers were. It was obvious that they (the Lost producers) had become so completely trapped by their own web of detail and minutia that they had absolutely no way to bring it all together in any satisfying way. So, they coped out and fell back on one of the very first theories of the show, Purgatory. On the other hand, 24 end in the most perfect way that a series like that could have ended. It was conclusive and satisfying in every way. In left just enough to the imagination without frustrating the avid fan. The 24 finale will undoubtedly go down as one of the best series finales in TV history, while Lost will be listed among the worst.

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Lost and Found - It's hard to compare Lost and 24. First, Lost received so much press it was unbelievable. That 2 hour pre-finale 'pat ourselves on the back' special as compared to Keifer Sutherland's 30 second and very humble thanking of his fans before 24's finale aired is a perfect example. Lost has taken on epic proportions (right or wrong) and 24 is just a GREAT show. It's hard to compare them and given Lost answered nothing and left everyone including myself kind of frustrated it's understandable that people are venting and commenting more on Lost. For myself I chose to give my attention to 24 because it moved me on a more gut level then Lost which left me too confused to relax enough and enjoy the Finale. I love both shows but came away feeling more satisfied about 24 which is why I sought out this review. I wouldn't even try to review the Lost Finale because it would take hours to even try to put down how confused it left me. It's like picking up a crossword puzzle that simply is over my head then quickly putting it down. No sense in playing in that sandbox. Now 24's sandbox I can play in and I'm very grateful to Keifer Sutherland for working so hard for so long to give us a great show and a great ending

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I loved this finale. It was satisfying in every way. One tiny little thing I could have done without was having Cole remain in the scene as Chloe and Jack said goodbye. It was almost like they were trying to say Cole would be taking over Jack's role and that felt like kicking him when he was already down. Then again it could be as simple as Chloe needing some to tell to 'Shut it Down' Jack's face looking up as he's running scared and wounded and saying goodbye will be etched in my mind. It was the PERFECT look to say goodbye to Jack and the show and Mary Lynn does deserve an Emmy, her tears had me bawling. I also think A Wersching deserves one as does KF and Gregory Itzhin

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It's interesting that 2 of the most unique shows in the history of television [LOST and 24] both end one night apart from each other. Yet the number of reviews and comments at this site for each show immediately upon departure reveal a huge difference: LOST- a flood of comments and a review appeared instantly it seemed, and by early the next day it had hundreds of comments [many were some of the longest and complex I've ever seen here] and several reviews. 24- When I checked I think around 1:30 am this morning I still could not find ONE review or comment which led me post a comment asking why. Even now as I type, saw only 7 comments listed about the 24 finale. I have my own multiple ideas, but am curious what others think about why there is such a HUGE difference in response here between the 2 finales. Obviously LOST had endless unanswered questions, a VERY emotional & touchy-feely ending and no clear continuation with a possible movie. With 24 it seems there is simply less to talk and debate about AND, this is really NOT the "end" Even from this finale if I had not heard a peep about the upcoming 24 movie, it was obvious I think that this episode was not REALLY the "end". Anyhow, I thought it was well done, kudos for much of the acting and may Jack get some desperately needed R&R before he has to jump back into the fire and turn to desperate measures again. ;-)

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Can we get a spinoff? How about an antihero "24", starring Nina?

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Well I shed a few tears myself at the end. It's hard to say good-bye to such a show. Kudos to the cast and crew for an excellent job. Now with The Unit gone too, there's no replacement in site. Thanks, Jack! You've earned your place in TV history.

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Has there ever been a show where the actors, writers, and production staff ever sustained such a titanic effort for so long? These people truly lived up to the overused hype of making a full-length feature every show; that was how much effort, creativity, and craft went into the show and all of that wonderfulness (and budget) showed up on the screen. I don't agree that the show slipped this year; I concede that some years were better than others, but that's just a reflection of a show that had a basic formula and yet constantly broke the rules and maintained the element of surprise. As a fan, I'm grateful to the cast and crew and creators of 24 for giving their best to us every year. I hope there's a movie; but from what I've read, they're a long way away from it, and from every indication Kiefer Sutherland and the writers are dog tired from giving 10 months a year for a decade to this show. To suggest that the movie is a certainty is just wishful. Personally, I wish the show would go on for another season so like "Lost" we could say goodbye all year. Still, I'm grateful; it was a sublime show and neither Fox nor any other network will be able to fully replace its spot on Monday nights.

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